The 21st Century Classroom

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21st Century Learning
So what is 21st century education? It is flexible, creative, challenging, and complex. It addresses a rapidly changing world filled with fantastic new problems as well as exciting new possibilities. There are several tools that can be used in the 21st Century Classroom - blogs, wikis, digital media, mobile devices, iPod touches, flip cameras, SMARTboards, the list is growing. This video details the needs of 21st century and beyond students Digital Media: 21st Century Learners (Use your Video On Demand login which is the same as your school computer login)



Additional Resources in Moodle

I have added additional resources in the Moodle course, The 21st Century Classroom. Click here to access those resources.


Who should strive for the 21st Century Classroom? Since we are already over 10 years into the 21st century, everyone should expand their use of 21st Century tools.

In regards to education - Educators should:

  • maintain student interest by helping them see how what they are learning prepares them for life in the real world.
  • instill curiosity, which is fundamental to lifelong learning.
  • be flexible in how we teach.
  • excite learners to become even more resourceful so that they will continue to learn outside the formal school day.


Today's students are going to be entering a workforce in which one skill set is not going to be enough to complete their job. Many companies are looking for people with the initiative and knowledge to handle many different job duties and well as job positions. Students need to be prepared for what lies ahead in college in regards to online coursework, networking, and social networking. Work and college are not the only areas of concern with regards to 21st century skills. Everyday machinery is becoming more and more digital - washers to refrigerators, music delivery, e-readers, GPS, communication across the world.

21st century skills learned through our curriculum, which is interdisciplinary, integrated, and project-based. Below are the seven survival skills for project based learning advocated by Tony Wagner in his book, The Global Achievement Gap:

Fortunately, there is a growing body of research supporting an increasing number of 21st century schools. We have living proof, inspiring examples to follow, in schools across the United States.

Two articles of interest:
Critical Attributes of 21st Century Education

Horizon Report

Key Trends according to the Horizon Report:

  • Easily accessible resources via the internet
  • Just-In-Time learning when ever/where
  • Cloud based applications
  • Student collaborative work


Instruction and technology relating to students' everyday lives. 21st Century Skills are about learning and innovation, media and technology, life and career skills, and core curriculum (See image at top of course)

Think about current careers - many did not exist 5 years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year ago. Social Networking Consultant? Didn't exist pre 2010. Now, it is a thriving career choice.


  • Understand
  • Evaluate
  • Critique
  • Create
  • Collaborate

We have the key resource right at our fingertips. The internet is a vast resource that allows for students to expand their knowledge, communicate with each other, experts, and continue to direct their learning.

Resources such as gaming software is available to more and more students on a daily basis. Programs such as Pico Crickets, Scratch, Alice, Turtle Art combine cross curricular skills such as art, math, science, engineering, and ELA.

There are more and more vendor created games targeted to learning. MIT's River City and PBS Mission US (free) offer students unique learning experiences in which they are learning curriculum, using gaming, collaborating, and making inquiry-based decisions.

Also, using interactive technology such as SMARTboards, student response units (clickers), interactive websites (See Tools for Teachers)

Create A Project

When creating a project, examine classroom curriculum and determine where the best fit would be for a project that utilizes 21st Century tools.

While you examine curriculum, think of the following, since today we must see learners in a new context:

  • we must maintain student interest by helping them see how what they are learning prepares them for life in the real world.
  • we must instill curiosity, which is fundamental to lifelong learning.
  • we must be flexible in how we teach.
  • we must excite learners to become even more resourceful so that they will continue to learn outside the formal school day.

Look at what you are currently teaching. Take one part of curriculum a unit, chapter, topic - switch out the traditional way in which you teach this unit and build in 21st Century Technologies. This isn't adding to what you currently to - this is replacing.

  • State, topic, person, bird, dinosaur unit - This is a unit in which students regurgitate information they have read in books, online and add to a "report" add, or copy, I should say. Why not use Google Earth to travel around a state in which you are studying. Create a Prezi, create a video, blog, website, digital story. The options are endless. Once you feel comfortable, they branch out further. Have several tabs open on your browser so you can access just in time information. Shift the learning as it dictates in the classroom.

Project Based Planning:

  • Start at the end
    • Understanding by Design (UbD ) lesson creation
    • Essential Question
    • Student Driven

Examples of Classroom Work:

Tools to Use

Media Literacy

Students are inundated with digital media from numerous resources. One popular media delivery source is You Tube. In an instant a video can be uploaded and viewed by everyone. Students need to be smart about media. Students need to know how to evaluate media and determine the value.

Media Literacy (Cable in the Classroom):

  • Become active and critical thinkers about media
  • Develop criteria for making decisions about media use
  • Find and identify quality media resources
  • Talk about what media they are consuming and why
  • Become better able to use media for learning and communicating

Global Education

The world is a much smaller place with the insurgence of technology. Through technology, we can communicate, collaborate, and share within an instant. One of the newest form of reaching out through technology is Social Networking.

Social Networking can be a viable tool to use when reaching out to another classroom. Blogs, Wikis, Instant Messaging, can reduce the distance and allow for enriching, learning experiences for students.

Digital Citizenship

Global Education includes collaboration with other students, classrooms, educators, and experts. There are numerous resources for collaboration:

Green Education

More attention is given to the environment and this includes the environment in which we learn as well. Many new professional fields have grown from the Green Movement. Traditional fields have shifted to accommodate new ideas, technologies, and methods due to the green initiative.

Expose students to "green" ideas through instructional multimedia, STEM, compare/contrast.

Here is a list of the top 5 green careers:

  • Civil Engineer
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Biologist
  • Environmental Journalist
  • Urban Planning

Others: Climate Activist Landscape Designer Architects Clothing Designers

Green Student Blog
Planet Green ChannelVinyl Siding Prices

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